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The 7 regrets of youth pastors (1)

I’ve been in youth ministry for about fourteen years in one capacity or another. Looking back, I sure wish I would have done some things differently. I’m fairly sure many of us feel that way.

Now I personally think regrets are a waste of time but ‘7 things many youth pastors wish they’d done differently in hindsight’ didn’t sound quite as catchy for a title…

So here, we go with 7 things many youth pastors wished they had done differently aka the 7 regrets of youth pastors:

1. Avoiding conflicts

As Christians, we’re supposed to be loving, kind and forgiving. The problem is that this often results in an avoidance of conflict at all costs. I’ve let certain situations continue for too long because I wanted to avoid a conflict. Well, the conflict happened anyway and it was much nastier than it would have been if I had faced it head on.

2. Not communicating the vision enough

It’s a classic mistake: having a wonderful, even God-planted vision but not communicating it enough to the rest of the team. I’ve been there too. It took me a while to realize not everyone ‘gets it’ the first time and that you need repeated, intense, and diverse communication to get the vision across and get support for your ideas and plans.

regrets graffiti

3. Settling for a low salary

I could afford to accept a low salary because my husband was working full time, but many youth pastors have to support a family on their income. I know it’s hard to turn a job down that is your dream, your calling, because of money, but churches should really get the message they need to pay living wages to youth pastors.

4. Not train a successor

This is one of my big mistakes. I left my last position much sooner than I had expected due to personal circumstances. It meant leaving without any kind of succession in place and the youth ministry has suffered because of that. Granted, the church was in a difficult place at that time and mistakes were made, but in hindsight I wished I’d spend more time looking for someone to replace me.

These are the first four, we’ll do three more the next time. In the meantime: what is your biggest regret as a youth pastor aka the thing you wished in hindsight you had done differently?

[Image: duncan via Compfight cc]
Posted on 7 Comments

7 thoughts on “The 7 regrets of youth pastors (1)

  1. This kind of goes with point 1 but I think a lot of youth pastors regret not getting rid of the bad apples on their team. They’ve been slowed down and, sometimes, crippled due to bad team members.

    1. Yup, sounds familiar…it’s a tough decision to make, but it can have such negative and lasting consequences of you don’t make it.

  2. […] and ‘career’ as a youth pastor. We’ve listed four regrets so far in our first post on the 7 regrets of youth pastors: avoiding conflicts, not communicating the vision enough, settling for a low salary and not […]

  3. Great list, by the way, I believe looking at our mistakes or weaknesses allows us time and space for growth. I’ve been in student ministry for 25 years and am still (hopefully) learning.

    Anyway, the 2 I might add are

    1. Not giving enough space to care for my own heart. I’m not just talking about a quiet time but finding a half day here and there to do nothing but seek the heart of God.

    2. Allowing my life to get out of balance. Sure, in student ministry we go through seasons but when seasons start to turn into months somethings got to give.

    And yes, I’m still trying to put these to regrets into practice. Thanks for getting me to think!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing David! If you’ll look at the second post in this series, you’ll notice thee two points coming back as they’re also very true for me.

  4. Great stuff! These all hit me in different ways. 3 of the 4 I need to act on immediately so I don’t have those regrets later…thanks!

    1. Thanks Tom, so glad to hear these have been helpful to you!

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